Russell Ebersole is the owner of Eberdeen Acres, an animal care facility that trains, grooms and boards dogs and cats. And this is not the first time he has been accused of animal cruelty.
"Four days into the boarding, the dog had medical issues,” said Capt. Aleck Beeman of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. “[Aberdeen Acres] called the owners, the owners came and got the dog, took it to the vet, the vet couldn't find anything wrong with it right away. The owner took it home and the dog died a couple hours later."
The Sheriff's Office said they are investigating this case because of Ebersole's record.
In 2003, Ebersole was charged and convicted of fraud for selling uncertified bomb-sniffing dogs to the federal government. The dogs reportedly failed several sniff tests involving explosives and Ebersole was sentenced to six and a half years behind bars.
In November 2012, Ebersole was charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty.
"We had several employees and owners contact the Frederick County Sheriff's Office about issues they've had with their dogs and medical issues,” said Beeman. “And we started an investigation."
Some of those charges were dropped after a plea agreement was made, and he is currently awaiting sentencing on four of those charges.
And just two months ago, Ebersole was charged with animal cruelty after owners of a pet told police they witnessed him abusing their dog with a leash. This case has not yet gone to trial.
Ebersole would not go on camera, but gave us this statement:
“Aberdeen Acres boards approximately 14,000 dogs and cats per year. We feed them, water them and care for them. Once in a great while, one of our pet guests has a medical condition which gives us concern. In this case a 13.5-year-old pet was observed to have a condition, which in our opinion required veterinary care. In accordance with our standard protocol we immediately notified the owner. The owner arranged for a family member to come and pick up the pets in lieu of us transporting it to their veterinarian. Any time any pet guest experiences any medical condition we are very concerned for their health and safety.”
Ebsersole also told us he thinks the dog died because, according to the records at his facility, it was given four routine vaccinations (DLPT, rabies, lime, and bordetella) just two days before it was brought into the kennel, said Ebersole.
He says old dogs, like the 13-year-old one that died, can easily get medical problems from vaccinations. Ebersole says he suspects it was the vaccinations that caused the dog's death rather than abuse.
Ebersole has not been faced with any new animal related charges since September, but the Frederick County Sheriff's Office says they are continuing the investigation into the recent death of the dog that died Friday. Capt. Beeman says cases of animal abuse in kennels can cross into a gray area because there are no national standards on how to train dogs.
"Unfortunately there are no federal or state standards on dog training,” said Beeman. “The only standards that are out there are by private organizations like the American Kennel Club or something like that. There's nothing that we can go on that says this is how you train a dog."
Ebersole will face sentencing on November 26 for the four counts of animal cruelty from 2012. Beeman says the judge has the power to determine if Ebersole should be able to take in dogs at his kennel.
Police say they are waiting for the results of the dog's necropsy, an autopsy for animals, to determine if they will file any charges.